Barn Find

Look what I found in an old pole barn today. Amazing that people have these sweet cars and just let them sit in a barn, isn’t it?

Actually, this is our one and only possession in the world that we have no intention of ever parting with. When we drove from Puerto Vallarta to Minnesota back in March of 2010—with a three-month-old Ouest—we had no idea that we wouldn’t be making another Porsche road trip for a very long time. This is really the sort of story that all people tell when reminiscing about why their old car became abandoned under a heap of lawn supply detritus in a forlorn shack at the back of the property. Life got in the way.

In our case a boat got in the way. Then winters got in the way. Then an old RV with only a few less curves came into the picture and, well, someday.

She looks exactly the same as the day we left her. Still beautiful. It was eight degrees below zero today, so I didn’t even entertain the idea of firing her up, and truth is, I probably shouldn’t until I tune her up anyway. I’m sure we’ll visit Minnesota in summer some year.

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Lowe puked on Thursday. I followed suit on Sunday. And seven days after Lowe, Ouest let loose all over my dad’s kitchen floor. This, as far as I’m concerned, is Minnesota in winter. The place is hell—froze over. In the past two weeks we’ve spent less than an hour outdoors, conducted in thirty-second blow zero bursts between the car and the door of whatever shopping or eating establishment will be taking our money that day. Ugh, I just can’t deal with winter any more.

Of course I hate to complain about it because it’s where our families choose to live. Being a whiner doesn’t sit well with those who see nothing wrong with the weather. And being a whiner makes me sound ungrateful for the hospitality, which I’m not. I love our families, I’m just pretty sure they are all out of their minds.

Ouest lost her third tooth in the space of a week. When she eats now it is out of the side of her mouth, which leaves a food stain from her lips to her left ear.


Dreaming of warmer weather.




Somehow Ali manages to avoid illness despite being the one most immersed in it.


We were here to watch this guy turn another year older. The kids were happy, as usual, for homemade cupcakes.



Video Catch Up

I’ve pretty much given up on video. The editing process is painfully time consuming, and I just could never commit to getting it done. But then recently I was shooting a video—just typical family stuff—and realized that there is no way my kids will be able to uncover this footage from dusty hard drives a decade or two from now. So I determined to just throw it all—or at least most of it—unedited into a monthly movie. It’s the only way I’m ever going to get it done. With all of the videos consolidated into one there is at least a fighting chance that I can keep them accessible into the future. I went back a few months and began catching up. What follows are the fruits of my labor. If nothing else, my kids absolutely love to watch this stuff.


Barroom Brawl

This particular tooth will not be missed. Ouest first smashed that tooth at age two, and it wouldn’t catch a break the rest of its life in that mouth, hitting pavement at least two more times. The last time left it sticking out at weird angles and required a trip to the dentist. Anyway, it’s finally gone, and we can all move on with life.


Uggh. Wearing anything besides flip-flops in the winter is a fail.

This is downtown Stillwater. A couple years from now it’ll be a ghost town, though nobody seems to want to admit it yet. A new bridge across the St. Croix river is being built two miles down the road, completely negating the need to drive down Main Street to the center of town where the current bridge sits.

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We were at the bar having lunch with a friend, and the kids were keeping busy with bar games—darts, foosball, and pool. Ouest got her hands on the five ball and was quite proud of the fact that she is five years old. Five, five—amazing. “Take a picture of me, Papa.”


And then a barroom brawl broke out. Any time I think, “Boy, my kids are amazing. We’re sure doing a good job raising them,” I can watch this video and be reminded of just how normal we are.


Whenever we end up in a Minnesota winter the kids get outfitted at the secondhand shop. For two days we thought we did pretty good with these six dollar boots. Then…


Ali’s parent’s house gets its water from a well. It may be time to have that water tested. Let’s hope there are two more teeth up there somewhere.



Minnesota in February

We thought a vacation to somewhere beautiful like St. Paul, Minnesota would be a wonderful way to escape the dreary Mexican winter weather. Oh, and Ali’s sister is also getting married. So, those are the two reasons we’re in Minnesota in February. Again.

Before we left we did a little work to the kids’ room. We threw on a fresh coat of paint, then we took down the old roll cage I had built and constructed a new, much smaller, one in its place. When we first left in the bus last year Lowe was two-and-a-half and needed all that protection to keep him from hitting the floor. Now just a year later it’s as if he is all grown up. We realized he no longer needed that much of a wall, and that we could really open the room up quite a bit by shrinking it down. All that’s left now is to replace that corner trim.

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Leaving the bus nice and clean for our return was a family affair.

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Every time we fly I am struck by one thing. Not how ridiculous it is that we now have to pay ten dollars for a cold chicken sandwich. Not how much carry-on luggage we all heft aboard in an effort to not pay for checked baggage. Not how old the flight attendants all seem to be (are any millennials going into this line of work?). Not how disgusting it is when one person coughs and sniffles the entire flight, seemingly completely out of control of their bodily functions. No, none of those things. What I’m struck by is how many middle-aged women spend the entire flight playing ridiculous games on an iPad. The lady next to me spent three hours designing monster trucks and racing them around collecting coins. The game looked to be designed for a four-year-old. I felt stupider by the end of the flight just sitting next to her. And yes, I would feel the same way about a man playing this idiotic game, but men are always idiots so I wouldn’t be as surprised by it.


The morning after our arrival. Old toys are new again.


Ouest got to go with Ali to a wedding shower the first day back. There were a couple of other kids there for her to play with. Overheard twice during the party were those kids running back to their mother to say, “That girl keeps talking in Spanish. Why is she doing that?” and then in exasperation, “She’s talking in Spanish again, Mom.” Esa es mi niña.


Ouest is adding and subtracting completely of her own free will. I’m so proud that I’m not even going to google what the average age for this is, because if I found out it is supposed to be age three that would severely ruin the high for me. Really what I’m most proud of is that she figured it out on her own, and I think she is proud of that fact too.

She is always writing. If anyone out there has a kid that might like a pen pal, let us know, because Ouest loves nothing more than sending and receiving mail.


One bridal shower might have been enough for one weekend for some, but not for Ali’s sister, Katy. No sir, Sunday brought yet another. These things are girls only, which made me very happy as it meant that Lowe, Grandpa, and I could disappear for a few hours to the motorcycle show at the convention center. The bridal shower, not the motorcycle show, got the camera for the day.

Lowe sat on fifty bikes and flicked switches until they were falling off, but what he really loved are those four-wheeler dump truck mule things with the little side doors that he could open and close. We spent the majority of our time there playing TAXI.

Ouest’s ninety-five year-old great-grandma and her favorite cousin.


The bride-to-be. Ali and I started dating when Katy was six. Now she’s getting married. Sometimes being married to your high-school girlfriend feels really weird.

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Ouest watching Katy open the gift she made for her that morning. This was taken a few minutes before her front tooth finally fell out. She’s been playing with it for weeks, and the thing has been sticking out in different directions every time I look at her (see photo above), so this was quite exciting for all involved.

She didn’t realize it had fallen out at first, so when she did realize it she started crying and said to Ali, “I lost my tooth!” Of course Ali thought she just meant that she had finally lost her tooth, she didn’t understand that Ouest was crying because she had lost her tooth. Katy found it and the day was saved.

Somehow we didn’t take one good picture of her adorable gap filled smile. She looks so grown up to me all of the sudden.

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